Monday, March 8, 2010

Kennedy (1). Theodore C. Sorenson.

Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

Francis Bacon: “He that has wife and children hath given hostages to fortune.” p. 2. ……….“Few American Presidents possessed his sense of history—or his talent as a writer.” p. 4. ……….“He was…determined to elucidate, educate and explain.” p. 5. ……….“An impassioned participant cannot be an objective observer.” p. 6. ……….“Recollections differ, opinions differ, even the same facts appear different to different people.” p. 8.

“John Kennedy’s role will be recalled in wholly different fashion, I am certain, by those in different relationships with him.” p. 8. ……….“But I think it more important that John Kennedy be remembered not for how he died but for how he lived.” p. 8. ……….“…his insistence on cutting through the prevailing bias and myths to the heart of a problem.” p. 13. ……….“As John Buchan wrote of a friend in John Kennedy’s favorite book, Pilgrim’s Way, ‘He disliked [shows of] emotion, not because he felt lightly but because he felt deeply.’ ”……….“An interest in ideas and in their practical uses came naturally to him.” Arthur Holcombe, Professor of Government. p. 15.

To be continued.

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